JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s been a record-setting summer in Joplin – with the area using more water than ever before. Combine that with a lack of rain, and it’s a challenge to make sure supply meets demand.
“It’s kind of a perfect storm of events if you will. We haven’t had any significant rainfall, and we’ve had these extended heat temperatures, temperatures that have been in the three digits for a while,” said Christie Barnhart, Mo. Am. Water.
Add those up, and it’s a challenge to make sure Joplin has enough water. The Missouri American Water Company isn’t calling for conservation measures, yet.
“That of course is always the first step, voluntary. Mandatory is something we hope we don’t get to of course because that looks at restricting water usage that is non-essential. That could impact businesses. We don’t want it to get to that but we are at the mercy of Mother Nature right now a little bit,” Barnhart added.
Rain would help replenish water at the source. Joplin’s biggest is surface water.
“85% of our water comes from Shoal Creek. 15% from our wells. We’re using everything that we have available to us in terms of being able to meet demand right now. And right now we’re meeting it, but we’re definitely seeing system delivery in numbers that we haven’t seen before,” she added.
A new reservoir is in the works. It’s currently in the permitting phase, but it won’t be adding to the water supply any time soon.
“We could hear something in six months we could hear something in two years. However, what is new regarding this story is we are looking at some steps to take in the interim to help us bridge the gap for a meeting the demand of water in the area.”
That’s likely the addition of one or two new wells.
“It would probably involve one or two new wells, which of course we know are not a long term solution, but you know, to get us through a couple of years that would suffice to meet the demand,” she said.
Which continues to grow.